Thursday, July 19, 2007

AFC Talks To UEFA About Limiting Club Tours in Asia

Sir Alex Ferguson’s defence of Manchester United’s commercial right to tour Asia during the Asian Cup 2007 is likely to accelerate the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) discussions with UEFA about a ban on ban on European club tours during the next Asian Cup, in 2011. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) certainly does not seem to agree with Ferguson’s statement ‘it’s not just about us taking – we also give’ (presumably, United gives tickets away to Asian fans, although United’s internet site states games have ‘sold out’) and is concerned that European club tours could pull fans away from its most lucrative tournament.

“Yes, it is feasible”, said AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam, when questioned by Asian Football Business Review about the possibility of a total ban on European teams for 2011. “We will be in discussions, either (to ban tours) in the 16 countries participating in the finals or all of Asia. It will be discussed and settled by the end of this year. It is a priority issue to be discussed. I will seek understanding between the Asian Confederation and UEFA and all major leagues in Europe to protect the month of the Asian Cup in 2011. We have two windows to organise our competition. It is the calendar FIFA has drawn up. We cannot organise our competition unless it is in June or July or January, when many European leagues have a break”.

 Andy Brown


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